1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Radio Kalahari Orkes”

Bobbejaanvlei Seties – Radio Kalahari Orkes

Radio Kalahari Orkes

Radio Kalahari Orkes

Every now and then I come across a music video on Youtube and I just can’t stop watching it over and over again. Usually it’s a combination of a great video and a brilliant song that makes me so addicted to it and ‘Bobbejaanvlei Seties’ by Radio Kalahari Orkes is my current addiction. And it’s certainly a mixture of sound and vision that keeps me coming back to this one, but the song itself is strong enough to stand on its own.

The video is a simple one, featuring the band against a white back drop, but they seem to be having so much fun. Despite the serious looks of the men in the band carry through the video, it’s the juxtaposition of Alicia van Dyk who bounces around the set with a cheeky grin against the ‘seriousness’ backdrop of the others that appeals.

The song itself is a catchy tune with a decidedly Irish folk sound to it, with pennywhistle and scratchy fiddle. It’s one that I think the Pogues would have been proud of. The lyrics are about a man wanting to ‘vry’ with Minnie at the seties in Bobbejaanvlei (a seties is a dance) and goes about it in a simple country way, buying her a dress and lining up to kiss her at the landbouskou. This is a carefree song which almost makes one want to give up the city life and hang out with the boere at their landbouskous and seties.

Hooray! Hooray! die dag in nou hier/my tande is geborsel and my baard is geskeer/Hooray! Hooray! Ek en Minnie gaan vry in die maanlig veldt langs die Bobbejaanvlei’ (Hooray! Hooray! The day has arrived, I’ve brushed my teeth and shaved my beard, Hooray! Hooray! Me and Minnie are going to make out in the moonlight veldt by the Bobbejaanvlei). These lines will stick in your brain once you’ve watched this video and then you’re hooked. Just be careful singing this around your wife (if you are a guy) as she may want to know who this Minnie is?

Where to find it:
Mamba – Radio Kalahari Orkes (2017)


Suikerbossie – David de Lange

David de Lange

David de Lange

‘Suikerbos ek will you hê’. These words are so well known in South Africa, particularly amongst the Afrikaans community where it is almost part of the DNA. It has been covered by many and there is even an English version called ‘Sugarbush’ which Eve Boswell recorded, and this proved popular enough for Doris Day and Frakie Laine to also record it. Their version went to number 8 in the UK charts.

However it was the Afrikaans version by David de Lange that caught the public’s imagination in the 1930’s. Versions of this are still available on Youtube and such like and, given the age of the recordings, have that tinny sound that the technology of the time managed. The vocals by de Lange sound a bit like a boemelaar who’s walked into the bar and had a karaoke session with the local boere band. But it, along with other de Lange hits, sold by the bucket load to the extent that Eric Gallo, the man behind Gallo records, believes that the record label would not have survived had it not been for the sales of de Lange’s records.

In 2007 (I think) Ian Roberts of The Radio Kalahari Orkes starred in a play about de Lange’s life called ‘Die Nagloper’. The play was written by fellow band member Rian Malan and the band recorded a soundtrack to the this which included a version of ‘Suikerbossie’ and this version is also worth checking out.

‘Suikerbossie’ is as Afrikaans as koeksusters, ossewa and Sonja Herholdt. It is part of the fabric of a portion of the population of South Africa and it was made popular by David de Lange, a man whom the Afrikaaners of the day rejected because of his ‘wild’ lifestyle (apparently he drank and womanised) and his close friendship with a kleuling. Well we know who had the last laugh.

Where to find it:
Dis Boeremusiek – Various (2016)

David de Lange version:

Radio Kalahari Orkes version:

Eve Bowell version:

Doris Day & Frankie Laine Version:

Staan My By My Bra – Radio Kalahari Orkes

Staan My By My Bra – Radio Kalahari Orkes (Boo!tiful)

Heuningland – Radio Kalahari Orkes

Heuningland – Radio Kalahari Orkes

There’s a bit of the Travelling Wilburys about Radio Kalahari Orkes (“RKO”). Not so much in the sound, but it’s a bunch of ‘old enough to have fathered a boy band’ age guys getting together to make music. The big difference is that, unlike the Wilburys, RKO members include an actor and a journalist.

Now before you go off bemoaning the fact that these types should not be meddling in the music business, I might just point out to you The Aeroplanes who roped in actors Sean Taylor, David Butler and Nicky Rebelo for their masterpiece album ‘The Aeroplanes’, and Johannes Kerkorrel was a journalist before revolutionising Afrikaans music. So Ian Roberts (he of the ‘Ja, Swaar’ TV ad and starred in the movie Tsotsi, to name a few roles) and Rian Malan (author of ‘My Traitor’s Heart’) should not be written off as indulging their musical whims. They may not revolutionise the music scene, but the anthemic ‘Staan My By’ is worthy of inclusion in this list.

The song starts off with a bit of the boere squash box going, but quickly introduces a strong beat and guitar driven pulse that is bold and full. But perhaps it is inviting Chris Chameleon to guest on vocals that was the stroke of genius that makes the song. His higher pitch plays nicely against the growling of Roberts and Malan and soars on the rousing chorus which may have sounded a bit flat without this. It’s not that Chameleon steals the show here, but the synergies between him and the band make for a great song.

Where to find it:
Heuningland – Radio Kalahari Orkes (2009), Rhythm Records, RR1100


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